As content marketing continues to give consternation to writers and marketers alike, I’ve been asked to throw down my tips for surviving this collision of historically disparate jobs. Who am I? Rob Patey. I was deemed a nut by IT marketers 15 years ago, even told to go work for Men’s Warehouse writing flyers. Today I am a content marketer, those other folks are selling suits at Men’s Warehouse! Learn, talk, and let’s make it all better!
Content Marketing vs. Irate Marketing
For my first entry into helping people survive Content marketing, we need to admit that it’s a silly silly term. I won’t fight the mighty zeitgeist behind it (because I never take on a battle already lost), so I have found my own way of defining this “new” mode of marketing that leaves everyone outside of this profession scratching their heads (from the layman’s view; all of the flyers, brochures, ads, post cards, videos, webinars and podcasts were always viewed as content).
- Content Marketing: A story, or the preamble to a story that people choose to read.
- Irate Marketing: Aggressive product pitches foisted upon unsuspecting prospects filled with pablum about your product that is so chest pounded with self-bravado the writer end up with an arrhythmic heartbeat.
Now, being as much story development as dissemination throughout my career, I fully get that the buying cycle has changed.
I know well that 80% of Business2Business research is happening before your “account rep” ever talks to the person (the fact I can rattle off 12 excuses by sales on how “crappy” the leads are without even thinking is a testament to prospect ensnaring prowess).
I know the prospect funnel has been replaced by the Engagement Web of social channels. I know we need lots of content to fill every nook of YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter and the like with content.BUT WE ONCE AGAIN ONLY THOUGHT OF OURSELVES IN MARKETING WHEN WE NAMED THIS DELUGE CONTENT MARKETING!!! This self-pitying naval gazing in nomenclature is what’s filling 99.99% of the business copy I see. Once again, it’s all about us.
CONTENT MARKETING SHOULD BE A GIFT OF VALUABLE AND ENGAGING INFORMATION! Because prospects can now choose whether or not to give us their time.
While CAN-SPAM may feel like a toothless tigers as unsubscribes beget more emails (especially from v1agra offers overseas), but it empowered consumers with the sense of opting-out from all marketing and advertising. Or opting-in to the messages they actually do want to receive.
Ignoring our messages was an impossibility (or at least very difficult) in the age of billboards and magazines. Even the mundane brochures from back in the early days of B2B marketing had desk jockeys attention bound because they only had only one thing to distract them from their jobs (magazines too, but that didn’t really look like work).
Opt-in marketing and preference centers aren’t legislatively dictated, but they are certainly best-practice and how every free social microphone operates (with the exception of in-stream ads, but even those are tailored on interest to maximize ROI).
When crafting verbiage for your market, ask whether you are creating something that people will:
- Find useful
- Find interesting
- Find affects them
- Come back to keep finding more of later
Now that we know these fine four fundamentals of what content marketing should be, we can start exploring the other 4,000,000 details.
Are you being asked to be a content marketer? Need help? Need to vent? Ask or vent vitriol in the comments or via email.